Bebel Gilberto, Tanto Tempo

Elisabeth Vincentelli

By Elisabeth Vincentelli

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Gilberto’s slinky 21st-century bossa nova unfurls like a silk scarf.

Mixing Brazilian bossa nova with a light (very light) touch of downtempo electronica seems like an obvious idea now, but when Bebel Gilberto released her debut album in 2000 it felt incredibly fresh — so much so that this album became an international smash. Born of Brazilian music royalty (her dad is João Gilberto, her uncle Chico Buarque de Hollanda), Gilberto spent a good chunk of the ’90s traveling the US and Europe, working with a wide array of musicians. The experience shows on Tanto Tempo, which unfurls like a silk scarf. The title track, co-written by late, great producer Suba, has a timeless feel typical of the album; it sounds as if it could have been made in the ’60s or '00s, an impression reinforced by a version of “So Nice (Summer Samba)” that's as light as cotton candy. Even when the programmed synths and beats get more audible, as on “Lonely,” Gilberto's touch never falters and she remains the epitome of international good taste.